1 Financial Aid 41 Financial Aid Office of Financial Aid Cope Administration Building 218 The Office of Student Financial Aid is a department within the Division of Student Affairs, Enrollment, and Academic Services. The Financial Aid Office provides financial assistance to qualified students attending Middle Tennessee State University. For current information, visit Students and their families have the primary responsibility for financing a college education. However, through federally funded programs, students may receive assistance when need is determined. Need is defined as the difference between the cost of attending MTSU and the calculated expected family contribution toward this cost. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the document from which the expected family contribution is calculated. In addition to programs based on need, MTSU has a limited number of scholarships that are based on academic performance and/or ability in a particular area. Deadlines for Applications Federal/State Deadlines To apply for federal and state aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. The priority date to apply for federal financial aid is May 1. The priority date does not apply to the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Student Loan programs. The priority deadline for the state grant (Tennessee Student Assistance Award) is March 1. Completing the FAFSA early is strongly encouraged. Due to limited funding for campus-based programs (e.g., Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Perkins Loan, and Federal Work Study), all eligible students may not receive these funds. Scholarship Deadlines To apply for scholarships for the upcoming academic year, the following deadlines must be observed. For current information, visit Currently enrolled students: Complete online scholarship application by December 1 Entering freshmen: Apply for admission, submit official ACT or SAT test scores, and submit an official sixth-semester high school transcript (through the end of the junior year) by December 1 Transfer students: Apply for admission by February 1 Foundation scholarships: For application and deadline information visit Deadlines range from December to April. Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS): The priority deadline requires the FAFSA results to be on file in the Financial Aid Office by September 1; submit the completed FAFSA by April 1, if possible. How to Apply Prospective students and their parents should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at To obtain a paper form, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at Parents and students should register for a personal identification number (PIN) before completing the application. The PIN can be used as an electronic signature. The Federal Processing Center will send the results to MTSU if the student enters the MTSU School Code of in the school section of the FAFSA. The results will also be sent to the student. Fall/Spring Award Notices will be sent to students MTSU addresses stating the tentative financial aid they may be awarded. The Award Notice will direct students to RaiderNet, where they may review their estimated financial aid award offers. The award offers are based on full-time attendance and will indicate both grants and loans for which students are eligible. After the Award Notice is sent, the estimated aid amounts may change due to changes in enrollment, EFC amounts, scholarships, and other aid. The Award Notice will provide instructions for how to accept/decline award offers via RaiderNet. Currently enrolled students will receive Award Notices after their grades have been processed for the Spring semester. Students MTSU accounts will be the primary method used by the MTSU Financial Aid Office to communicate if additional information and/or documents are required to complete the financial aid process. It is important for students to check their accounts frequently. Return of Financial Aid For the Fall and Spring semesters, a federal financial aid return will be calculated for all students who withdraw after the fourth day of class but prior to completing 60 percent of the term. For the Summer term, a federal financial aid return will be calculated for all students who withdraw after the last day to drop without receiving a grade but prior to completing 60 percent of the session. The amount of the return will be prorated based on federal guidelines. Students who withdraw before the last day to drop without a grade may have all of their aid canceled. Students may owe a refund to the U.S. Department of Education and/or MTSU. For important dates and information about withdrawing, go to edu/~records. Students may contact the Financial Aid Office with questions regarding this policy. Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy Federal regulations require that all federal financial aid recipients are enrolled in a degree-seeking program or an approved certification program or are seeking initial teacher licensure.
2 42 Financial Aid To maintain eligibility, these recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress. MTSU complies with this requirement by monitoring each aid recipient s cumulative grade point average (GPA), completion rate, and maximum time frame for completion of a degree. The following describes MTSU s method for monitoring each of these measures. Cumulative Grade Point Average 1. Undergraduate students. To be eligible for financial aid, a student s GPA must meet at least the minimum requirements listed in this catalog. The cumulative GPA includes all transfer credits and hours earned at MTSU. 2. Graduate students. To be eligible for financial aid, a student s GPA must meet at least the minimum requirements listed in the graduate catalog or be approved by the College of Graduate Studies for enrollment. Completion Rate Students must pass 66 percent of their cumulative credits attempted to remain eligible for financial aid. Grades of A, B, C, D, P, or S, including any + or - options, count as credits earned. All courses for credit will be counted as hours attempted including withdrawals, incompletes, courses repeated, and courses resulting in grades of N, U, and F. 1. Probation. Students whose completion rate is greater than 50 percent but less than the required 66 percent will be placed on probation. Students on probation must pass 75 percent of their attempted hours for the next semester enrolled. 2. Suspension. Students whose completion rate is less than 50 percent of the credit hours attempted or those previously placed on probation who did not meet the requirements of their probation will be suspended from eligibility for federal grants, loans, and federal work-study employment. Students may still be eligible for emergency short-term loans and other University funds. Time Limits 1. Undergraduates. The maximum time limit for completion of a first degree is 150 percent of the program s published length. Most undergraduate programs require 120 hours; therefore, the maximum attempted hours allowed is 180. This time limit does not include remedial/developmental courses for which the maximum federal limit is 30 hours. The maximum hours include all transfer hours and all attempted hours. Students who change majors during the junior or senior year may be allowed 24 additional attempted hours to obtain a degree. The Records Office must have the change of major recorded prior to the student s achieving the maximum hours. 2. Graduates. The maximum time limit for graduate students may be limited to 125 percent of the standards established by the College of Graduate Studies and published in the graduate catalog. Review of Progress Standards 1. GPA. The Records Office reviews the GPA at the end of each semester. Students may appeal academic suspension to the undergraduate or graduate academic appeals committee. The decision of the committee is final. 2. Completion rate. The completion rate is reviewed at the end of each semester by the Financial Aid Office. 3. Time limits. The maximum time limit is reviewed at the end of each semester by the Financial Aid Office. Notification/Appeals 1. Time Limits. Students who have attempted over 132 credit hours will be notified regarding the maximum hours they can attempt and continue to receive federal financial aid. 2. Probation. The Financial Aid Office will send s to students MTSU addresses notifying them of their financial aid probation and the expected requirements. Each student may be allowed at least one probationary period during the course of enrollment. 3. Suspension. The Financial Aid Office will notify students through their MTSU accounts of their financial aid suspension and the expected requirements. Students are allowed to appeal their suspensions if they can document extenuating circumstances beyond their control which have since been resolved. Examples include death of an immediate family member and extended medical illness and/or disability. Provisions may also be made for students who have military credits that cannot be counted toward a degree. Any other circumstances not listed above must be well documented and have the approval of a financial aid administrator and/or the director of Financial Aid. a. Financial Aid Suspension Appeals. Student appeals are reviewed by an internal committee composed of financial aid staff. Each student will be notified of the appeal decision and if denied what action must be taken to regain financial aid eligibility. b. Loan and Scholarship Committee. Students who are suspended a second time or who have been denied by the internal financial aid committee may appeal to the Loan and Scholarship Committee or its designee. The Loan and Scholarship Committee comprises faculty members, students, and administrators. Because faculty and students do not report until the start of school, students appealing to this committee may be personally responsible for paying registration expenses. The decision of the committee is final. Reinstatement of Financial Aid if Appeal Denied Students may be able to attend MTSU at their personal expense even though they are on financial aid suspension. Students who do this will be placed in good standing after they pass 66 percent of their cumulative credit hours. Students may view their financial aid satisfactory academic progress status on RaiderNet. EXCEPTION: Students who have reached the maximum credit hours allowed will not have their financial aid reinstated for the current degree. No Credit Hours Earned A student who earns no credit hours for one semester will be automatically placed on financial aid probation. A student who earns no credit hours for two consecutive semesters enrolled will be automatically suspended from federal financial aid. However, the student may appeal the suspension. Please see the suspension guidelines above. Exceptions The University may suspend a student s financial assistance in the event of extraordinary circumstances that are not accounted for in this policy. In all instances, the student will be notified of the appeal process. Teacher Licensure Students who have completed an undergraduate degree and are enrolled for the sole purpose of attaining teacher licensure may be eligible for loans at the undergraduate level. To receive aid, students must be accepted into the teacher education program. Students may be eligible for aid one year prior to being accepted provided they have taken or will be taking FOED 1110 and FOED 2110, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and provide the Financial Aid Office with a copy of their
3 Financial Aid 43 program of study. Exceptions may be made by the Financial Aid director or his/her designee. Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS) The Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) awards the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS). For information, visit TSAC at or MTSU at TSAC reserves the right to modify rules/regulations without prior notification. Typically, rules are adjusted in July of each year. TELS Eligibility Requirements: For all students Tennessee residency for at least one year For entering freshmen Graduates from an eligible high school must have at least a weighted 3.00 GPA or 21 ACT (980 SAT). GED recipients must have at least 21 ACT (980 SAT) and 525 GED. Graduates of Tennessee Home School or an ineligible high school must have at least 21 ACT (980 SAT). Students must enroll within 16 months of home school completion, high school graduation, or receiving GED. Each April, TSAC will determine the availability of funds for Summer Lottery Scholarships. If funds are available, students who have remaining TELS eligibility for the award year may receive Lottery Scholarship funds for at least half-time enrollment. For additional information about General Assembly Merit Scholarships, Aspire Supplements, Hope Access Grants, and Foster Care Grants, visit the TSAC Web site listed above. Application Procedures: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each academic year. The FAFSA is available online at beginning January 1. Submit the completed FAFSA by April 1, if possible. The FAFSA must be processed by September 1 for students enrolling in the Fall semester or by February 1 for students enrolling in the Spring or Summer terms. Renewal Criteria: Must earn a 2.75 cumulative TELS GPA after 24 and 48 attempted credit hours. Must earn a 3.00 cumulative TELS GPA after attempting 72 credit hours and subsequent 24-hour benchmarks OR must have between 2.75 and 2.99 cumulative GPA with at least a 3.00 semester GPA. CANNOT change enrollment status after census date (14 days after classes begin). Must enroll for each Fall and each Spring term. Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program (TELS) Policy Refer to for the most recent policy. Rules and regulations are accurate as of January 2009; however, TSAC reserves the right to modify rules and regulations without prior notification. Before dropping or withdrawing from classes, contact the Financial Aid Office. According to Title 49, Chapter of the Tennessee Code Annotated, the Financial Aid Office must implement policies and procedures for the monitoring of TELS. In addition, the statute requires students to maintain federal Satisfactory Academic Progress as established by MTSU as noted below. Following are the policies and procedures for the monitoring of TELS. Cumulative TELS Grade Point Average (GPA) Eligibility will be reviewed at the end of the term in which the student has attempted a total of 24 credit hours and at subsequent 24-hour benchmarks. At the end of the term in which the student has attempted a total of 24 and 48 credit hours, the student s cumulative TELS GPA must be at least At the end of the term in which the student has attempted a total of 72 credit hours and at subsequent 24-hour benchmarks, the student s cumulative TELS GPA must be at least 3.00 or must be between 2.75 and 2.99 with at least a 3.00 semester GPA. The cumulative TELS GPA includes all transfer credits and hours earned at MTSU, including grades from repeated classes. Dual enrollment, credit-by-examination, and/or AP credits are not included in the cumulative TELS GPA. Students may view their TELS GPA in the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship eligibility section on RaiderNet. Completion Rate Each semester, students must maintain their enrollment status as of the census date. Students who receive a full-time award cannot drop below 12 credit hours during the term. Students who receive a part-time award cannot drop below 6 credit hours during the term. All attempted hours, including I, W, and F, will be included in monitoring attempted hours brackets and maximum attempted hours. Time Limits Students may receive a TELS award until the first of the following events occur: 1. The student has earned a baccalaureate degree. 2. Five years from the date of the student s initial enrollment have passed, unless a leave of absence has been approved. Procedures for Monitoring Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program A. Grade Point Average (GPA). The Financial Aid Office reviews the TELS GPA at the end of 24 attempted credit hours and at subsequent 24-hour benchmarks. B. Completion Rate. The Financial Aid Office reviews the completion rate at the end of each term. Students who change their enrollment status after the census date (14 days) are no longer eligible for the TELS award.
4 44 Financial Aid C. Time Limits. The Financial Aid Office reviews the maximum time limits at the end of each term. Notification of Ineligibility Periodic s are sent to lottery recipients encouraging them to check their lottery status via RaiderNet. RaiderNet may be used to view ineligibility for students who fail to maintain the minimum TELS GPA requirements, students who change enrollment status after the census date, or students who exceed the maximum years allowed. Appeal Process Students who have lost their eligibility for the TELS award can appeal if they had extenuating circumstances or if they lost eligibility due to enrollment issues. A Tennessee Lottery Appeal form is available in the Financial Aid Office or online at Students will be allowed to appeal their ineligibility if they can provide documentation verifying extenuating medical or personal circumstances. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, illness of the student, illness or death of an immediate family member, extreme financial hardship of the student or student s immediate family, or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student s control. MTSU is not authorized to make exceptions concerning GPA requirements, regardless of extenuating circumstances. Students should submit their appeals to the Financial Aid Office to be reviewed by the Institutional Review Panel (IRP). The IRP Appeal Committee is composed of MTSU administrators and meets approximately six times per academic year. Appeals will be accepted for two weeks prior to each IRP meeting. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for dates of upcoming IRP meetings. If the IRP denies the appeal, students may appeal to the TELS Award Appeals Panel at TSAC. The decision from the TELS Award Appeals Panel at TSAC is final. A student may regain eligibility for a TELS award after becoming ineligible due to enrollment at an out-of-state institution or failure to meet GPA requirements. For more information, please visit the Financial Aid Office Web site. Grade Changes Students should submit written notification to the Financial Aid Office within fourteen (14) days of any grade change. The Financial Aid Office will verify the change and make an award adjustment, if applicable. Incompletes Incompletes are included in attempted hours but are not calculated in the GPA. If a student s GPA including a grade of I meets the GPA requirement based on attempted hours, the student may be eligible for a TELS award for the current semester. However, if the grade of I is changed and the student s TELS GPA falls below the minimum requirement, the student may be required to repay all TELS awards within the current academic year. Conversely, if a student is not eligible based on a GPA that includes a grade of I, the student will not be eligible for a TELS award for the current semester. If the grade of I is later changed and the student becomes eligible based on the recalculated TELS GPA, MTSU will resume the TELS award. Leave of Absence A student may request a leave of absence by completing the Tennessee Lottery Request for Leave of Absence form. In most cases, a student may be granted a leave of absence for up to one year and be eligible to receive the TELS award upon return. A leave of absence may be approved for medical or personal reasons. Allowable medical or personal reasons may include, but are not limited to, illness of the student, illness or death of an immediate family member, extreme financial hardship of the student or student s immediate family, to fulfill a religious commitment expected of all students of that faith, or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student s control where continued attendance by the student creates a substantial hardship. Acceptable reasons shall also include a student s participation in an internship or co-op program that is required or encouraged as part of the academic program in which he/she is enrolled. The student will be notified of the decision of the IRP. If a student s request is denied, he/she may appeal the decision to the TELS Award Appeals Panel at TSAC. Military Mobilization A student may request a leave of absence due to military mobilization by submitting the Tennessee Lottery Military Appeal form. A member of the United States Armed Services, National Guard, or Armed Forces Reserves who is mobilized for active duty during a semester that is already in progress may be granted a personal leave of absence and his/her TELS award eligibility will not be negatively affected. If, as a result of being mobilized, a student completely withdraws, the hours that were attempted during the semester will not be counted for purposes of determining future TELS award eligibility. If a student receives a grade of I due to mobilization, refer to the Incompletes section above. Requests for leaves of absence from students whose spouses, children, fathers, or mothers have been mobilized for active duty also will be considered. Students must reenroll no later than one year following the mobilization to be eligible. They must provide the Financial Aid Office with copies of orders for active duty for themselves or the applicable family member. General Financial Aid Information 1. During the Fall and Spring semesters, students who officially withdraw during the first four days of classes will have all of their financial aid cancelled. Students who withdraw after the first four days but prior to completing 60% of the term will have their financial aid prorated. Students who drop course(s) before the census date may have their aid adjusted according to the number of hours enrolled as of that date. For dates, refer to www. mtsu.edu/~records. Students may owe a refund to the U.S. Department of Education and/or MTSU. Students are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing.
5 Financial Aid For each session of the Summer term, students who withdraw after the last day to add a class but prior to completing 60% of the session currently attending will have their financial aid prorated. Students who drop course(s) and receive a grade of W may have their financial aid adjusted. For dates, refer to Students may owe a refund to the U.S. Department of Education and/or MTSU. Students are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing. 3. Students who withdraw from the University before 60 percent of the term has been completed will have their aid adjusted according to the Financial Aid Return Policy. For information about the Return Policy, refer to the Return of Financial Aid section. 4. Class attendance will be verified for financial aid disbursements that occur during the Fall and Spring semesters and each session of the Summer term. For Federal Direct Student Loans and Perkins Loans, if a student is reported as not attending classes on at least a half-time basis (6 credit hours), funds may not be disbursed. For Pell Grants, if a student is reported as not attending classes for which Pell has been awarded, aid may be cancelled or adjusted. If the University cancels a course, a student may be required to register for additional hours to remain eligible for federal financial aid. Students are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office if they have questions regarding their eligibility. 5. The official last date of attendance (for students who have not officially withdrawn) will be determined by the instructor. If a student is reported as not attending classes, Pell, Lottery, and other aid may be adjusted or canceled. 6. Class participation must be verified for students who are enrolled in correspondence courses, online courses, videoconferencing courses, the Regents Online Degree Program, or courses via the Internet. Because attendance is not required for these courses, instructors document class participation according to completed homework assignments. Students should complete their homework assignments in a timely manner so their participation can be documented. If students wish to withdraw or drop from these courses, they are encouraged to contact their instructor(s). Students financial aid may be adjusted or cancelled if instructors are unable to verify participation. 7. The federal government randomly chooses students for verification, which is the process of verifying the accuracy of the data submitted on the FAFSA. If a student is selected, the Financial Aid Office will request signed copies of applicable Federal Income Tax Returns, W-2 forms, and other documents. Failure to submit completed documents to the Financial Aid Office in a timely manner may delay a student s financial aid and may result in the loss of certain funds. 8. Financial aid can pay for up to 30 attempted credit hours of remedial and developmental classes. 9. Any scholarships and grants received in excess of tuition, fees, and books are considered taxable income. Consult your tax preparer for tax filing information. 10. Students enrolled in only Regents Online Degree courses may have their budgets adjusted. 11. Students enrolled for an additional bachelor s degree may qualify for a Federal Direct Student Loan provided they have not reached their aggregate limit. Before a loan can be processed, a student must provide the Financial Aid Office with a signed copy of the upper-division form detailing the courses required for the additional degree. 12. Graduate students who are required to enroll in undergraduate courses to be accepted into a graduate program may qualify for Federal Direct Student Loans at the undergraduate level, provided they have not reached their aggregate undergraduate loan limits. If eligible, students may receive undergraduate Federal Direct Student Loans for their prerequisites for up to a maximum of 12 consecutive months. A letter from the academic department or graduate analyst indicating which courses are required as prerequisites must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office before a loan can be processed. 13. All financial aid is subject to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Aid Available Below is a summary of financial aid administered through MTSU. Unless otherwise indicated, application is made to the Office of Student Financial Aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For federal programs, students must be in a degree-seeking program or an approved certification program or must be seeking teacher certification. For current information, refer to Sources of Aid and Eligibility Federal Programs Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) Freshmen and sophomores who have completed a rigorous high school program of study ; award adjusted based on number of hours enrolled Must be Pell-eligible Sophomores must have at least a 3.00 GPA National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant Juniors and seniors who are majoring in physical, life, or computer sciences; mathematics, technology, or engineering; or a critical foreign language ; award adjusted based on number of hours enrolled Must be Pell-eligible Must have at least a 3.00 GPA Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Seeking a degree in teacher education with intent to teach in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary Title I school Based on number of hours enrolled Federal Pell Grant Undergraduate students working on first bachelor s degree Based on number of hours enrolled
6 46 Financial Aid Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Undergraduate students Must be Pell-eligible Limited funds available Federal Work-Study Program Provides part-time employment Limited funds available Federal Perkins Loan Limited funds available Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Parent is borrower Credit approval (of parent) required Student must be enrolled at least half-time Based on Cost of Attendance Budget minus other financial aid Federal Direct Student Loan Program Federal Direct Student Loan limits are based on dependency status (as defined by the FAFSA) and grade level. Please refer to financialaid/staffordloans_finaid.shtml for annual loan amounts and aggregate loan limits. First-time borrowers at MTSU must complete an Entrance Interview and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) before receiving loan funds. Federal Direct Student Loan Program Subsidized Undergragduate and graduate students Federal government pays interest on loan while student is enrolled in school Federal Direct Student Loan Program Unsubsidized Based on Cost of Attendance Budget minus other financial aid Students responsible for paying interest on loan while enrolled in school; may allow interest to accrue while enrolled in school OR may pay interest as it accumulates State Programs Review the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) Web site at for information on application procedures, deadline dates, and eligibility criteria for the following programs: Tennessee Student Assistance Award Program Dependent Children Scholarship Program Ned McWherter Scholars Program Minority Teaching Fellows Program Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program Christa McAuliffe Scholarship Program Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship Program Institutional Programs The programs listed below are currently available; however, they are subject to change without prior notification. Review the MTSU Web site at for the most recent programs and eligibility criteria. Incoming Freshman Academic Scholarships The National Merit/Achievement Finalist Scholarship The Chancellor Scholarship The Presidential Scholarship The James M. Buchanan Fellowship The Academic Service Scholarship The Scholarship for Valedictorians and Salutatorians The Provost Scholarship The DREAM Scholarship The Raider Scholarship Currently Enrolled Students MTSU Enrichment Scholarship MTSU Vision Scholarship Transfer Academic Scholarships Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships TBR Community College Academic Service Scholarship Non-TBR Academic Service Scholarship Other Scholarships Many MTSU departments offer Foundation and/or departmental scholarships. For information about Foundation Scholarships, please visit For information about departmental scholarships, such as those offered for ROTC, music, and athletic participation, please contact the appropriate department. Other Institutional Aid Clifford N. and Pauline W. Stark Educational Loan Based on need and GPA; amount of assistance varies; cosigner required; contact Financial Aid Office. SGA Emergency Loan Program Based on emergency need; $100, must be repaid in days; contact Financial Aid Office. Foundation Short-Term Loan Program Based on emergency need; must be repaid in days; amounts vary; contact Financial Aid Office. Other Sources of Aid Vocational Rehabilitation Based on physical or emotional disabilities; amount of assistance var ies; contact State Vocational Rehabilitation Office in your area. Veterans Benefits Veterans, widows of veterans, and children of disabled or deceased veterans; amount of assistance varies; contact Veterans Administration Office in your area. Private Scholarships Based on an organization s or individual s requirements; amount of assistance varies; contact parents employers, local civic organizations, community groups, churches, businesses, etc.